Approving a submission from an approval workflow is triggering the approver event from all of them


I am currently having a major issue, I have a dropdown box with departments in it, like 10 or so. Each department has a different approver. So I'm creating a different approver workflow for each department based on what was entered in the dropdown upon submission. That part is working correctly, it's going to the right people for their approval, etc. The issue is, when a workflow is approved, it's triggering the approval state of every workflow I've created and I'm getting an email from each and every workflow saying the same ticket number has been approved.

I tested to make sure this is what's happening by adding another notify event to one of the approver workflows with a unique message and I submitted a test sheet with a different department....and it triggered that new message.

What's going on here, is there some condition I need to do or is there a better way than creating 10 different workflows for each department (noting some of the departments go to the same person, so Department A and B might go to person A but Department C will go to Person B.

Attached is one of my workflows and how I've done it (this workflow I currently have copied 2 more times with different "When Your Department is" conditions). Am I missing something, again when THIS workflow is approved, the approved trigger is happening on all of my other workflows (should I not be duplicating the workflow, is that the issue?). Any and all help is greatly appreciated.


  • Lidiya S.
    Lidiya S. ✭✭✭


    I am not sure exactly what would be triggering the other workflows, but there is a way to do this without making 10 separate workflows. A few steps to it though but pretty much creating a separate sheet with the department contacts and then linking it into the original so you can send the approval to a contact cell instead of a specific person.

    An advantage here is if the contact ever changes you just need to change the contact in the reference table instead of changing your workflow. Another advantage is if you ever need to add a department you can add a row to the reference table with the contact instead of creating a whole new workflow for the new department.

    Steps explained below:

    1. Create a separate sheet that lists the departments in the primary column and put the Person contact in the column to the right. Make sure that the column with the contact is a Contact List column type.
    2. In the original sheet create a Contact List column named "Approver" and enter a lookup formula. For example =VLOOKUP(Department@row,{Reference the table in the sheet created in step 1},2,false). Make sure you turn this into a column formula.
    3. Now you are ready to create a single workflow to cover all of your departments, shown below :)

    Hope this helps! Contact me with any more questions/comments/concerns!

    Lidiya Shutaya

  • Kaanha
    Kaanha ✭✭
    edited 09/16/21

    Hmm, when I do this I'm getting "Incorrect Argument Set" Also another problem I've noticed is the contact list is alphabetized, how can I associate the contact list on the second sheet with the primary column. Since I can't move the email address about to be in the same position as the primary column rows.


    I figured it out, I don't make column 2 a contact list, I leave it as a text or number...then I just add the email addresses next to the associated department row, treats it like a 2D Array.

  • Lidiya S.
    Lidiya S. ✭✭✭
    edited 09/16/21

    @Kaanha Edited:

    Okay, thank you for editing it to let me know. I assumed (shame on me) that your contact was a contact card and not just an email. You are correct that in that case it would stay as a text/number column.

    Is this working for you know?


    Are you getting an incorrect argument set for the VLOOKUP?

    If you can just send me a Google Meet link and we can go through this live, or if you can send me a few screenshots to give me a better idea of the issue you are running into, I want to make sure I am understanding the problem you are running into. I'll add some screenshots for what I presented above in case that helps :)

    Your original sheet will require 1 column (assuming it does not already have it) - Department Contact.

    The new sheet you create will looking something like this:

    Now, in your original sheet, in the new column you added you would enter a formula like =VLOOKUP(Group@row, {Reference Sheet that highlights the entire second sheet}, 2, false). You can reference the new sheet by clicking "Reference Another Sheet" when you set up the formula:

    Select the new sheet Name on the left hand side and then highlight the needed table elements.

    After the formula is entered as set as a column formula (right click on the formula and select the column formula option at the bottom of the menu) your original sheet would look something like this and populate the Department Contact column automatically with each new entry.

    Really hope this helps and looking forward to helping guide you to the right solution!

    Lidiya Shutaya